Students for Fair Admissions seek to challenge UT admission policies

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Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

Students for Fair Admissions launched a new website two weeks ago in hopes of challenging the admissions policies of UT, nearly nine months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of UT in the Fisher v. University of Texas trial.

The website, UTNotFair.com, asks students who were rejected by the University to share their academic stories, including their class rank, grades and standardized testing scores with the non-profit organization in a confidential manner.

The organization, which is also challenging Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, hopes to use the stories gathered on the website to challenge the University’s admission practices in court once again. However, the organization will act as the plaintiff in the new lawsuit instead of an individual student, such as in the Fisher case.

“We believe that the Supreme Court’s decision in Fisher did not immunize the University of Texas’ current system,” said SFFA President Edward Blum, the legal strategist in the Fisher case. “In fact, because of the changes that have taken place in the state of Texas over the last 10 years, we believe the University of Texas could be vulnerable to another lawsuit.”

Cory Liu, a volunteer executive director for SFFA who was rejected from UT when he applied as an undergraduate, said the website is primarily for Asian- American students.

“One of the issues that was raised in the Fisher lawsuit was that (Fisher) was a white plaintiff and white privileged … and that’s a fair point,” said Liu, who pitched the idea of doing another lawsuit for Asian-Americans in Texas. “My parents, (when) they came here, we didn’t speak English in our home, and yet for students like myself … who are applying (as) children of immigrants, because of these racial classifications, we’re held to a higher standard than white students, and I don’t think (that) is justified.”

Although the Court ruled in favor of the University in the second lawsuit this summer, the Court said the University should continue to evaluate its admission practices and “must tailor its approach in light of changing circumstances, ensuring that race plays no greater role than is necessary to meet its compelling interest.”  

Maurie McInnis, executive vice president and provost, said no changes have been made to the University’s admission practices.

“Our pursuit of excellence is grounded in the University’s public mission to provide the highest quality education for every student,” McInnis said in an email. “Diversity is essential to carry out that mission.”

According to student admission data obtained by the Office of Executive Vice President and Provost, 3,854 white students were automatically admitted to the University in 2016 along with 2,414 Asian, 4,004 Hispanics and 693 black students.

“No one is admitted strictly on the basis of a single factor, including race or ethnicity,” UT spokesperson J.B. Bird said. “Race or ethnicity is one factor among many considered within the overall holistic admissions process.”

Public health sophomore Kayla Eboreime, and political action chair for UT Black Student Alliance, said she has not heard about the website, but she believes affirmative action is essential at UT because it provides equal opportunities to everyone.

“So many brilliant minority students are not given the equal opportunity to attend a university like UT just because of the racial and educational disparity of this country,” Eboreime said. “I stand in full support of affirmative action because it promotes equity, inclusion and diversity.”

There is no definite date as to when a lawsuit will be filed, but there is a possibility of a new challenge to be made against the University, Blum said.